Saturday, December 31, 2011

After Christmas-Card Crafts

Happy 2012, Crafters!

It is after Christmas and what do we do with all those cards?! Well, I've been giving it some thought and here are a few easy crafts to eat up some of that excess paper bulk in your recycling bin.

Image from Yoyomax12 video
  1. Make Christmas tags out of the decorative side of the card. If the back of the decorative side of the card is clear of markings or script, then you can cut tags in whatever shape you desire; for example circles or rectangles! Think about using pinking shears for a cute edge.
  2. My mom used to make a tiny gift count down for Christmas so I wouldn't loose my mind waiting to rip open gifts. All her 24 boxes were made out of old Christmas cards and about 2 square inches. I've found a great and simple rectangle box video tutorial by Yoyomax12.
  3. Garlands! Circle shape garlands are very "in" right now. Cut a ton circles out of the decorative side of the card an 1 and a half or 2 inches in diameter. Sew them on the sewing machine with a little wiggle room between each circle. Wrap strand around a piece of cardboard for storing and put away for next winter! A shorter variation: Cut circles out of the decorative and plain sides of the card (each decorative side should have a "backing" side), grab a piece of inch wide and est. foot and a half to 2 feet long grosgrain ribbon, tie a hanging loop at the top end, and glue the front and back to each other on the ribbon. 
And of course you can find tutorials EVERYWHERE for that old standby, the Christmas card ornament. I just think its a bit old fashioned and stuffy but to each his own holiday crafts!

Be safe, healthy, and look forward to 2012, BK

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Make Your Own Bows

Hey Semi-Pro Package Wrappers,

I found a great tutorial on making your own bows from scrap paper in the house. I followed the tutorial with a piece of magazine paper (an ad for Mariah Carey's newest fragrance) but I really like How About Orange's suggestion of using maps! I, however, only used one of the medium sized pieces since my loops seemed to be a bit smaller than hers. Looks just fine and I'm sure practice makes perfect.


Friday, December 9, 2011

Altoids Amp

Hey Holiday Hustlers,

Today I am spotlighting a very cool little item from Etsy, The Altoids Amp. K Hessler has been selling these cool electronics steadily since Holiday 2010 and has a great reputation from sellers with comments like:

"Super fast shipping, product looks great! I'm going to order another one!" 

"This thing is killer and the build is super clean. I will definitely be ordering more for friends and family. Thanks!" 

K Hessler, an electrical engineer, came up with the idea by melding two favorite interests (guitars and electronics) to help put him through school. The small amp runs on a 9V battery and has a speaker, a guitar and headphone jack, and volume and power knobs. It would be a very cool gift for any guy who shreds axe and has roommates. And keep an eye out for more items in his Etsy shop next year!


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Birthday Badge and Banner Tutorial

Hey Crafters,

My best fella's quarter century birthday was this week I made him a birthday badge to wear for the evening. The poor guy is starting final exams soon so our festivities were a bit uncertain and truncated. We went out for Indian food (which was great) and to the bar to grab a few drinks and a good time was had by the few other students brave enough to crawl out of the study coma. I had the same problem in undergrad; my birthday was during spring finals. It sucks.

This badge is made of two types of colored paper (blue and orange), a length of crepe streamer, ribbon and rickrack, a bobby pin, and hot glue.

Bobby pin on back
  1. I started by making my front and back circle (the 25). Using something round (ex. the bottom of a glass), cut two circles. 
  2. Write what you want (or print from the computer) on the front circle before gluing anything to it. I wrote "25" with some side flourishes.
  3. Then I glued the streamer to the back circle, folding as I went to get the ruffles. 
  4. Glue your ribbons, rickrack, to the "bottom" of your back circle (here I cut a few lengths of my blue paper and accordion folded them to get a few more long pieces). 
  5. To make the fringe, cut a length of paper about an inch wide, making slits every centimeter or so (so that it looks a bit like a comb) and glue that to the front circle. 
  6. Glue the front circle to the back circle. 
  7. Here I put a bobby pin on the back instead of a real pin back so  that I could slip it into the hole on the top of a cone party hat that was already hanging around my apartment OR he could take it out and wear it on a pocket or lapel.
I also made a tiny banner out of the same blue and orange paper.

  1. Take a length of string (I used yarn but maybe hemp twine would be better. The yarn keeps twisting unpredictably). 
  2. Fold your paper in half and cut a triangle, wide end on the fold. 
  3. That long diamond shape folds in half around the string. Glue in place. 
  4. Tie bows onto toothpicks or chop sticks and stick in your birthday cake! 

Since we didn't have cake, I stuck this guy in the rice at the Indian restaurant.


Monday, December 5, 2011

Fort Making Kit

Hello Crafty Parents!

I love love love this craft! With the holidays coming up a Fort Making Kit would make a great present! Bloom has come up with a truly complete, deluxe fort making kit. When I was a kiddo, I would have flipped out getting to start with all these supplies. And I bet this could be made pretty cheaply, which Emily of Salt Water Kids suggests; getting sheets from Goodwill and other items like suction cups from the Dollar Tree (I know my hometown Dollar Tree is chock full of items like clothes pins and flashlights). I like Salt Water Kids idea of using rope instead of making my own ties from fabric. Making your own ties is a lot more work and you don't need a bias maker.
Pic by Salt Water Kids


Saturday, December 3, 2011

12 Days of Giveaways!

Hey Crafters,

Spoonflower is doing 12 Days of Giveaways on their blog and they're on Day 3. All you have to do is comment on the blog post or on the link on Facebook. Today's giveaway is a Bundle of Holiday Fabric. Bundle, indeed. I say "Bundle me up!"


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Maple Leaf Coasters

Hello Crafters,

Ok, ok, I know that its not quite fall anymore (depending on where you live, its definitely not fall anymore) but I have a few more fall crafts I wanted to get in before I move to winter.

I have been putting The Long Thread's Maple Leaf Coasters on the back burner for a few weeks but they are so easy to do. The tutorial made them out of felt but I bought three wool sweaters this fall to make felted wool projects. This is the first sighting on the blog of these sweaters.

They even give you the leaf template which I just copied right from my screen (I have no printer at my immediate disposal). You can kind of see the three colors of sweaters I bought; Orange, pale green, dark gray. They look great and I am excited to see how absorbent they are (which I suspect they are since its a natural fiber). Because of the thickness of the felted wool, when sewn they even curve around my glass like a real leaf.

BONUS SUGGESTION! This same idea would be great if you made Christmas bulb coasters in red and green or blue and white; and sewed patterns, like zigzags in silver, across the circle. Hm, but what to make the metal hanging piece out of...maybe a small bow or a ribbon in a V shape trailing away from the bulb.